Drivers may become involved in wrong-way accidents if they cross a double yellow line. Drivers could accidentally cross a double yellow line if they pass illegally, drive distracted, fall asleep while operating a vehicle, or if they are intoxicated. In some cases, motorists make mistakes and get onto highways going in the wrong direction.
Efforts are underway to prevent wrong-way collisions, and reports indicate that new technology could potentially be effective at significantly bringing down car crash rates caused by drivers going in the wrong direction. While the technology in question is not currently deployed, rules are expected to change as soon as the end of this year. New rules would make it mandatory to incorporate the new technology in both light-duty cars as well as in trucks.
New Technology Aimed at Prevention of Wrong-Way Crashes
The new technology that could make a substantial difference in reducing rates of wrong-way car crashes is smart in-vehicle technology which allows communication from one vehicle to another. The communication would use radio frequency (RF) and there is a special RF channel that has already been reserved by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for this purpose.
The technology is still in development, with an app currently being tested and expected to be ready very soon. The Department of Transportation has been conducting research on smart technologies and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems for around 10 years, and the results have been promising. Some estimates suggest up to an 80 percent reduction in crash rates could be achieved with the proper use of effective vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems.
This type of system could allow drivers to talk to one another to warn other motorists on the road of a wrong-way driver, or of other impending obstacles which could result in a motor vehicle collision occurring. The system would also provide an alert to local transportation authorities regarding a wrong-way driver on the road so the authorities could take appropriate protective and responsive actions to the threat. Finally, warnings could be issued to alert the driver who was traveling in the wrong direction on the road.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is already involved in the rule-making process to require the incorporation of the new technology by the end of the year. Hopefully, once it becomes a standard feature in vehicles, it will make a big difference in crash rates. The problem, however, is unless and until there is full automation in vehicles, human error is still going to be a threat. If a driver is drunk, sleeping or otherwise unable to respond to a warning about a wrong-way crash, the accident is still going to happen even with communications technology installed in the car.
Regardless of any technological advances, people remain responsible for making safe decisions and drivers are in the best position to avoid motor vehicle accidents.